Ahead of Biden-Putin talks, Ukraine warns against Yalta-type agreement

Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin at the Yalta conference.

Ukraine rejects any efforts to get it to scrap its plans to join NATO as well as any “guarantee” sought by Russia to ease tensions on the border, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Friday (3 December).

The Kremlin said on Friday that Russia and the United States had a tentative date and time for teleconference summit talks between Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden in the coming days, but that Moscow was waiting for final approval from Washington.

Putin plans to tell Biden about a proposal for security guarantees that would halt the NATO military alliance’s eastward expansion and threatening weapons deployments to Russia’s neighbours, including Ukraine, Kremlin advisor Yuri Ushakov said.

Moscow wants to see an end to NATO’s eastward expansion, after much of Eastern Europe joined the alliance following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday called on his US counterpart Antony Blinken to provide “security guarantees” that NATO would not come closer to Russia’s borders.

The Ukrainian leadership appears to fear a ‘Yalta-type’ agreement between the two superpowers, which would put limits to its sovereignty. In February 1945 Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill met in the resort city of Yalta at the Black Sea and decided the post-war partition of Europe.

Agreeing to abandon its plans to join the alliance “is not an option” for Kyiv, Kuleba told AFP in an interview on the sidelines of an OSCE meeting in Stockholm.

“I reject this idea that we have to guarantee anything to Russia. I insist that it’s Russia who has to guarantee that it will not continue its aggression against any country,” he said.

NATO officially opened the door to Ukraine membership in 2008, though no progress has been made since.

“It’s absolutely inappropriate for Russia to have any influence on decisions taken by another sovereign country, Ukraine, and another international organisation, NATO,” Kuleba added.

He urged the United States and its allies to reject the demands made by Moscow.

“We have a golden rule in Ukrainian diplomacy: no decisions about Ukraine without Ukraine. So if anyone, even our closest friends, decide anything related to Ukraine behind our backs, we will not recognise the decision.”

Russia has 'no right' to establish a sphere of influence, NATO chief says

Tensions over Ukraine escalated on Wednesday (1 December) after Russia’ demanded ‘guarantees’ from NATO that the military alliance would not expand to Europe’s East.

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